Category Archives: Art

Confusing Communication

Last night we had a small party to celebrate Quinn’s graduation from the U of M. At the risk of being a parental braggart, one semester early with a double major. I’m very proud of her. She majored in Art and Art History, her concentration in Art was ceramics. Naturally she has compiled quite a collection of pottery over the last few years and she wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do with it. So she put out some of her pieces and we told the guests to help themselves before they left. Part of the collection was made up of simple thrown cylinders that she had done as a technical exercise in one of her early classes. Even though they are more practice pieces than anything else, some are very attractive. She told me that almost everyone that selected a cylinder asked her if they could drink coffee out of them. We decided that they meant that in a chemical sense, not an aesthetic sense. “They’re not mugs, they’re cylinders. When you make a mug you think about the handle and the lip and how the liquid will flow out of it and all those form follows function kind of decisions. So, yes, you can safely drink coffee out of them, just so I don’t have to see you do it.”

Another communication pitfall occurred this morning. I asked my wife if she worked next week. “You mean this week?”

It’s Sunday, right? This is the weekEND, right. So it’s the end of this week. Tomorrow is Monday and the beginning of next week right. Am I wrong on this??

Lights on Broadway

smallersanfordposterThis morning I was down at the Plymouth Christian Youth Center in North Minneapolis. Carl Griffin their communications person gave me a tour of the campus and of the Capri Theater, which is owned by the center. The occasion for the tour was my picking up copies of the poster I designed for the upcoming Sanford Moore concert. They’re doing some amazing things on the Corner of Broadway and Logan. They’ve taken a former auto dealership and transformed it  into their offices and PYC Arts & Technology High School, a beautiful building where “at risk” kids are using the combination of art and technology to enhance their learning experience.

Students are learning about DNA by building sculptural representations of the Chromosome strands and studying math as it applies to music. Students are learning technical, as well as interpersonal skills by working as apprentices at the Capri, which they have also recently remodeled. They have multi-purposed the buildings, not only producing their own shows at the theater, but renting it for other musical and theatrical productions. The school building also provides a venue for after school activities and multiple youth programs. It’s a bright and inviting place, alive with natural light and vibrating with activity. I saw lots of happy faces on the kids. All in all it looks like a great environment for learning.

Part of the vision is to “bring up the lights on Broadway” and to “Lead the Capri Theater Renaissance” by making the theater a year around cultural destination that attracts visitors from all over the Twin Cities, showcasing North Side talent and revitalizing the neighborhood. Check out Sanford Moore next month and see the great things going on Broadway!

I’ve been working on the railroad


This summer we went to the Railroad Museum in Wisconsin Dells. I took a pile of shots of rusted out trains and old railroad stuff, planning to do some photopaintings from them. Here’s the first. View on black

Clean and Sober

Last weekend the Kellers laid low at home and watched two movies about addicts, Clean and Rachel Getting Married. Generally I’m not a fan of addiction and recovery themes, too much like real life, I guess. But I found these films to be engrossing. Both center on addicted women, played by Maggie Cheung and Anne Hathaway, who are very unsympathetic characters. Alienating all around them with their destructive and self possessed behavior, these human train wrecks seem to be destined to lose everything to their addiction, and not have anyone left to care. In Clean, Cheung’s character, Emily, is cleaning up after a stint in prison and is trying to reunite with her son, who is being cared for by the parents of her overdose victim husband. Hathaway’s Kym, is on a furlough from treatment to attend her sister’s wedding, and soon makes it obvious that she thinks everything is about her and about her problem. She turns her toast at the groom’s dinner into a twelve step amends, going on and on about how sorry she is for everything, without ever mentioning the bride and groom. That wouldn’t qualify as making amends at the meetings I went to.

It was the former behavior that bothered me the most. I’m a recovering alcoholic, or as my father who shared the malady called it, a dehorn. That must have been stockyards lingo. I’ve gone 24  years without a drink, if you don’t count the time this summer when I grabbed the wrong beer bottle off the counter at a family gathering. It wasn’t O’Doul’s. I’m not counting it. I try to stay pretty low key about it, I get uncomfortable when people call attention to it. I’ll cop to it if the situation calls for it, but I always hope the conversation goes elsewhere quickly. Continue reading Clean and Sober

A little art, a little name dropping

springfall_1_775Yesterday’s StarTribune featured some personal connections of note. In the OP-ED section, long time friend Susan Cushman wonders about the role doctors play in the last days of life, if they need to be more forthright with families and patients when confronting the inevitable. Based on recent personal experience Susan, a Doctor herself, inspires us to give thought to what we least like to think about.

medalLucia Watson, chef and proprietor of Lucia’s, who I’ve swapped Walleye recipes with and named a daughter after, is being awarded the prestigious Chevalier du Merite Agricole. “…one of the highest honors from the French Ministry of Agriculture. It’s akin to a knighthood, and recognizes her culinary expertise and focus on locally grown, sustainable food products.” Congrats, Lucia. Oh and if  you’ve haven’t been to the restaurant, you must. You might just name your firstborn after it as well.

Finally may Alma Mater, Carleton College was written up for it’s new sparely appointed student housing. Apparently they’re bucking a trend of schools attracting students by building very posh accommodations. They feel that the more draconian digs will attract a greener thinking matriculate. Although in Minnesota, not having air conditioning between September in May doesn’t sound like a huge sacrifice. Anyway, what’s the big deal? Musser Hall has been there since the sixties!